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Column: Take advantage of area happenings in February

As I touched on in my last column, winter can be a trying time. It's cold, it gets dark early, you don't see the sun very much and so on and so forth.

A key, I've found, to staying happy and alert during this time of the year is to get involved, get active and get busy any way that you can.

Freeze Fest, coming up in February, is an excellent example of this. These kind of community-wide events brighten the winter gloom, and are a great source of fun and community pride. Here's an overview of what's happening for Freeze Fest:

Kicking off the festival on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. is a broomball tournament. Following the tournament is sno-gulf at Mulligan's on Friday at 1 p.m. The real fun gets going on Saturday, with a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at Zorbaz, Freeze Your Face 5K Race starting at 9 a.m., the Sportsman Club ice fishing tournament starting at 9 a.m., and the plunge into Little Pine Lake starting at 1 p.m. The festivities conclude on Sunday with Turkey Bowling at 1 p.m.

I want to come back for a minute, if I may, to the event that I'm personally looking forward to the most: Broomball.

Last I checked, mine was the only team signed up for the tournament, so I'm hoping that enough teams get formed so that there can be a legitimate game or two or three.

Now, some of you out there might be thinking that you don't want to play because you don't know what broomball is, and even if you did, it sounds dangerous.

Well, I'd be lying if I said it were a safe game. But then again, neither is hockey or football. Or bungee jumping.

But, therein lies the fun of broomball. Only wearing boots, you can imagine how you slip and slide all over the place, and probably pull a face-plant every now and then (that's why padding of some kind is important!).

The rules of broomball are simple. It's basically hockey, with a ball instead of a puck, and with boots instead of skates. And that's basically it.

If you've never played broomball, this is the perfect opportunity to check out a fun new sport. You'll probably be sore (and bruised) and tired (and bruised) when it's all said and done, but you'll have had an excellent time trying out something new.

Or if, by the sound of it, you think that broomball might not be for you, that's okay. But find something else to help mix up this winter.

The days are slowly getting longer, but that doesn't necessarily make them any easier. Spring is still far away, and as much as some of us might like to just wait it out at home on the couch, we'd all be much happier if we get ourselves out there and try something new.

Like falling down on the ice. Or jumping into a frozen lake.

Just maybe, that'll help get through the rest of this winter, however long it'll take.